The Milk Run is the easiest and warmest possible route to circumnavigate the world.
If you are thinking about sailing around the world and if your object is to sail as easily and safely and warmly as possible with a minimum of hardship and a maximum of
pleasure then you need to take the Milk Run Route
The Milk Run Route uses the trade winds to cross the major oceans and avoids tropical revolving storms (i.e. hurricanes, cyclones and typhoons).
There are many variations of this plan but the critical planning factors which must be taken into account are the following;
Because of the direction of the spin of the earth the world circling trade winds blow from east to west.
You must use the trade winds to cross the major oceans. (The tradewinds blow in winter)
You must stay out of the hurricane areas. (Hurricanes occur in summer).
The Mediterranean is best in the summer
The Red Sea is best in spring.
The winter trade winds blow between latitudes 3-30 degrees.
(Both North and South Hemispheres)
In the southern hemisphere you go during April to November. (Winter)
In the northern hemisphere you go in the northern winter. Most Atlantic crossings occur after Xmas.
The major problem is to not get caught in a hurricane. These occur in the same latitudes as the trade winds but in the opposite season.
Cyclones in Northern Australia occur Xmas until March.
In the Caribbean they occur June until October.
The effect of these rules turns out to be really good. You always sail towards the west in nice warm comfortable conditions.
The circumnavigation is a distance of 27,000 nautical miles.
At four knots you would average 100 miles a day taking nine months to complete your circumnavigation. Because you are a cruising sailor following the seasons you would normally take at least three years.
To complete your circumnavigation to this timetable in a cruising yacht you will need to be prepared to be out on the ocean sailing your yacht at least 20% of the time and of that time you will need to motor/motorsail 35% of the time.
Where it is possible to day sail (e.g. in the Mediterranean, and on the Australian Coast etc.) you will need to be sailing at least 60% of the days available. It sounds easy but it is not. That is a lot more sailing than the average yachtie is prepared to do. Most yachties extend the time available so as to have a slower and more enjoyable experience. Sailing as slow and easy as possible keeps the drama to a minimum and the pleasures to a
At each port you need a full day to check-in, a couple of days to rest and recover, a
couple of days to explore the town to find the good food and fuel, change some money, carry food and fuel and water. What is the use of all the hardship of traveling if you do not have time to make friends, have meals with the locals, spend lazy boozy afternoons and evenings comparing experiences or shooting the breeze with other yachties. For me stopping my boat for less than a week seems like I am rushing and I should have stayed home and gone to work everyday.
Many yachties take 10 years or more for a more relaxed and enjoyable circumnavigation.
For the purposes of this book I am starting the voyage on New Year's Day at Canary Islands on the Eastern side of the Atlantic Ocean. So the first passage is the Atlantic crossing from Europe to the Americas.
Obviously you will not be starting from the Canary Islands. I will describe a circular route which you can get on and off as you choose.
Americans come down the California coast and out from Mexico to French Polynesia in March/April.
Or from the East coast they leave Florida and cross the Caribbean then sail through Panama Canal and out into the Pacific in April.
Europeans leave from Gibraltar in November.
Australians leave from Darwin in June.